Even if you leave her in a crowd of international models and actresses, she would still stand out. That's how well Peya carries herself. One of the topmost models in Bangladesh, Jannatul Ferdoush Peya has already gained admiration for her acting skills in the movie Chorabali. But that is just a part of her story, she is much more than just a pretty face. She is also an LLB student and intends to pursue politics. Peya is a rare breed – the kind that is both brainy and beautiful. After a photo session for Star Showbiz, I had a lighthearted conversation with Peya.
BACK IN THE DAY
I grew up in a conservative family. As a child, I was an eccentric and spontaneous. At the same time I was involved in many cultural activities. I wasn't the party girl though. I didn't hangout much with friends. I grew up in a joint-family. Fighting many social hurdles, with the suggestion from one of my well-wishers I got into modeling. Taller than the average Bangladeshi girls, ramp modeling was the right platform for me to shine in. I have done many TVCs but no TV drama. I always felt I wouldn't be good on TV. I am very serious at what I do. Whatever it is, I don't do it just for the sake of doing it. I take my work seriously. When I began modeling, I took as a serious profession, got in touch with international agencies. I participated in competitions and won a few. My big break was winning Miss Bangladesh 2007. Last year, I won the Miss Indian Princess International 2013. Suddenly, through Chorabali, I came into acting. Before Chorabali, I never thought I would be able to act. People really appreciated my acting in Chorabali which inspired to continue acting. 'Gangster Returns', my next film, is already done. Two others are in post-production, and I am about to begin work on two more. This year at least three of my films will be released.
BURDEN OF A TALL STAR
Because of my height I have always caught attention. Trust me; it is not comfortable at all. I decided to look straight, not to see who's looking at me. I have learned the tricks to avoid unwanted attention. To be honest, I am not sure whether people look at me for my media presence or for my height. Sometimes I get asked for autographs – only then I realize that some people know me.
One of my happiest moments in life was when I won Miss Indian Princess International 2013. Before I won, most others shrugged me off because I was from Bangladesh. When they announced my name, I couldn't believe it myself!
Q&A with Peya
Q. When was the last time you cried?
I cried even yesterday. My exam is closing in and I been have shooting even the day before my exam. I have a lot to cover in very little time. I am studying LLB under the University of London's external program.
Q. Your dream date?
In 'Pretty woman', how Richard Gere respects Julia Roberts even though she is prostitute was amazing. I think I am in love with Richards Gere's character in 'Pretty Woman'. My dream date is the character Richard Gere played in 'Pretty Woman'.
Q. Your favourite location for vacation?
Thailand is the place for me for vacation. It is the best place for shopping and partying and letting yourself lose contact from the rest of the planet for a while.
Q. What kind man do you like?
For me, a man must have a strong personality. I really don't care about looks much as long as the man's personality is strong. To be precise, confidence and the way he talks or the way he communicates with me and others matters the most.
Q. What is your most treasured possession?
My most treasured possession is the person I love. I have no problem saying who it is. He is a journalist. His name is Faruk Hasan.
Q. What is your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement is my foundation 'WE'. With this foundation we help people who are less fortunate. We mostly work for women and children.
Q. What is your on-screen character trait?
My modern look! Even in 'Gangster Returns', the audience will see me as a modern woman. But in real-life, of that outer shell of modernity there is touch of that innocence of a Bengali woman. Also, my personality is my character trait. All the media related work I have done so far, I have noticed that somewhere personality comes out.
Q. What makes you depressed?
I can't handle tension. Whenever I am in tense situations, I feel weak and vulnerable which turns into depression. But, thankfully, I can find ways to get myself out of the depression quickly.
Q. What is your dream role?
I want versatility in my characters. My dream is to play a role where I would be without any makeup with a big red dot on my forehead wearing sari in old fashion, you know, like the women in Tagore's plays.
Q. Your biggest fear?
My fear is being ignored. It could be anyone, my parents or my friends; I just can't take being ignored.
Q. What do you want to be better at?
There no limit to better yourself. I want to be proper human being. I want people to say that I am a good person.
Q. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Five years from now, I want to see myself as a good artist – no matter what the platform is. Let me take it further, ten years from now, I want to see myself as a barrister. Fifteen year later, a politician. No matter what I do I will be involved in the media. It may sound awful, but the truth is that media is like a drug. Once you get in there is no coming back. The media is like a magnet. It drags you into it and you can't break free.
Q. Any brand preferences?
Nina Ricci is my perfume of choice and I love Gucci purses. I have such a weakness for shoes that I don't care about the brand. No matter what the brand is, if I like a shoe I will get it.
Q. Your Idol?
My idol is Barak Obama. He is not just a gentleman who is a smart and a good politician, but he is also a great family man.
Q. What do you keep in your purse?
Unlike many models I am not big into makeups. You wouldn't find any cosmetics in my purse. Most of my pictures in Facebook are without makeup. I am very confident about my looks.
Q. Would you do intimate scenes for a role?
If the character demands it, if it is strongly associated with the plot, then I am willing to go for anything with certain limits. I won't do anything that is force-fed to make the film a better sale. People need to open their eyes - if they want international standard films then they should also have the skin to accept bold scenes.
Q. What the favourite part of your body?
My long hair is the best thing about my body. Honestly, I really don't spend too many hours grooming my hair, whatever you see is God gifted.
Q. Some facts we don't know about you?
I am very good at cooking and sewing. If I want to be a housewife I will be a really good one. Those who don't know me well think of me as snobbish and moody. Once you get to know me better, you will realize that I am just another simple minded girl.
* All books of Humayun Ahmed.
* Memsaheb by Nimai Bhattacharya
* All movies of Salman Shah especially, 'Shopner Nayok' is my favourite movie.
* Favourite Hollywood movie is Pretty Woman.